Charles Bukowski goes up against Robert Frost in this final Round One Poetry Bracket contest.
These are 20th century poets, so don’t expect beautiful poetry.
Bukowski is essentially the child (whoring and drinking whiskey) who utters homely truths which the educated are forced to admit are true.
There’s nothing worse than too late
And there you go. Who can deny this? Isn’t he right?
Robert Frost, like Emerson, Melville, and Whitman, first found fame in Great Britain, which, until World War Two, was the World’s English Professor for those seeking literary fame.
The American poet Amy Lowell was visiting London at the same time, fighting with Ezra Pound and his buddy, Ford Maddox Ford—who wanted Amy’s America to join the bloodbath against “the Huns” in the approaching Great War, and Amy would have none of it. Frost, who had a curmudgeon loner streak, kept away from this fight.
Frost’s first two volumes of verse were published in London in 1913 and 1914, just as England was crying for war and it was getting underway.
Then while the genocide was occurring, in 1915, Frost slipped back to America, at the age of 40. Frost won the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes in 1924, and began teaching at Bread Loaf in 1921, helping to pioneer America’s dubious yet successful Writing Program industry.
Bukowski was born in Germany in 1920—to a German-American sergeant in the American army occupying a defeated Germany after WW I.
Growing up in Los Angeles, a socially withdrawn Bukowski was ridiculed as a boy for his German accent, and frequently beaten by his unemployed father.
Frost goes against Bukowski with his famous
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” was inspired by Edward Thomas, a English poet and walking companion when Frost lived in England; Frost thought Thomas was too fussy about what road they took on their rambles around the English countryside. Thomas died in the slaughter of World War I.
The wars of the 20th century throw long shadows over all, even these two poets, Bukowski and Frost, who were not soldiers themselves.
The kid who was ridiculed as a kid for his German accent wins.